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Many shark species are endangered, and a number are on the verge of extinction. This is primarily due to three major factors: destruction of habitats (especially mangroves which serve as shark nurseries); by catch of ocean going fish factories; and extreme exploitation and overfishing for their fins and cartilage, all of which are used  in useless and superstitious ways by various cultures for food and "medicines". And the endangered list includes not only lesser known sharks but also one of the ocean's most magnificent predators, the Great White Shark as well as the extraordinary Whale and Basking Sharks.


The shark populations of the east coast of the United States have been reduced dramatically in the past 15 years, including from 40 to 70% reductions in the populations of  tiger sharks, blue sharks and mako sharks. The "International Action Plan For Sharks" initiated by CITES and the Food and Agricultural Organization FAO report that more than 100 out of 400 shark species are being exploited commercially, and that many of these species are so overexploited that their long term survival cannot be guaranteed. More than 100 million sharks are caught annually. Not only are sharks actively fished for their meat, fins or cartilage, but millions of them die needlessly as undesirable byproducts brought in from the nets and longlines of ocean going fishing factories.

Finning: An especially brutal and cruel practice is finning, which is cutting off of a shark's fins, often while the animal is still alive. The shark trunk is then tossed overboard as useless waste. The epicenter of the international shark fin market is Hong Kong and mainland China, where the almost uncontrolled finning trade is a huge problem. It is estimated that over 22,000 tons of shark fins are marketed worldwide, and most of this ends up as "shark fin soup", a popular "status symbol" dish in many oriental cultures. Unfortunately only a handful of countries have introduced finning restrictions: Canada, Brazil, the United States, Spain and Costa Rica and the attack on sharks for their fins continues  worldwide. Sharks are also exploited for their cartilage, which is claimed falsely to have therapeutic uses in curing everything from osteoarthritis to cancer.

Habitat destruction is also another major threat to sharks. In order for young newborn sharks to survive, they must have a place to hide from larger fish and other sharks. For millions and millions of years, mangroves in shallow water have served this purpose perfectly. However, coastal development in recent years has accelerated considerably and the building of resorts, golf courses and marinas where mangroves now threatens the very existence of shark species. In the Philippines for example, the mangrove forests have shrunk from 5,000 to only 300 square kilometers! This is a catastrophic loss of nursery habitat for Philippine sharks.

Top 20 Endangered Shark Species

1. Ganges shark (Freshwater species)
2. Borneo shark
3. Basking shark - North Pacific & Northeast Atlantic sub-populations
4. Speartooth shark
5. Whitefin Topeshark
6. Angular Angel shark - Brazilian sub-population
7. Smoothback Angel shark
8. Spinner shark - Northwest Atlantic sub-population
9. Pondicherry shark
10. Smoothtooth Blacktip
11. Blacktip shark - Northwest Atlantic sub-population
12. Dusky shark - Northwest Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico sub-populations
13. Grey Nurse shark (aka Sand Tiger)
14. Great White shark
15. Gulper shark
16. Basking shark
17. School shark (aka Tope shark)
18. Bluegray Carpetshark
19. Porbeagle shark
20. Whale Shark


The links below will take you to some great websites about sharks.
The best sites to start for general information are marked with a star
If you have a site that you think should be listed, please email me.

Official, Scientific & Governmental Sites
Endangered Species Organizations
Shark Conservation Groups
Other Countries
Shark Observation Eco-Tours
Shark Species
Personal Websites

Mass Extinction of Species


Ben S. Roesch's "A Masterpiece of Evolution -The Shark"
An excellent resource site by Canadian zoologist Ben S. Roesch that focuses on sharks.

CSULB Sharklab -Cal State, Long Beach, CA
Their mission is to advance our understanding of the ecology of marine fishes, training future marine scientists at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and disseminate information to resource managers and the general public to improve conservation of marine fishes.

Site mission is to provide information to the general public as well as scientists working on the preservation, conservation and better understanding of elasmobranchs.

Henry F. Mollet -Elasmobranch Research
Research Affiliate, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Monterery Bay, California

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Sharks
Section of Monterey Bay Aquarium website devoted to sharks

NOAA's Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish and Sharks
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration webpage

NOVA Online: Island of Sharks Adventure
Website devoted to NOVA/PBS program featured filming of
IMAX  film, "Island of the Sharks" -Costa Rica's Cocos Island.

Pelagic Shark Resource Foundation
Sharks of the vast regions of the open sea. The mission of PSRF is to develop and assist projects that contribute to a better understanding of elasmobranchs, with an emphasis on those which contribute to their conservation and management.

 ReefQuest Centre For Shark Research
Founded in 2001, the ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research is dedicated to shark and ray conservation through its scientific research and public education programs. The Centre maintains research equipment and facilities, reference collections of fossil and extant elasmobranch specimens, a scientific library, elasmobranch data bases, and public education materials. 

A mega shark site -all and everything about sharks!

Shark Research Committee
Founded in 1962 as a tax-exempt non-profit scientific research organization, the Shark Research Committee's goal is to conduct original research on the general biology, behavior and ecology of sharks indigenous to waters off the Pacific Coast, with particular emphasis on potentially dangerous species.

Shark Research Institute
The Shark Research Institute is a multi-disciplinary non-profit scientific research organization created to conduct research on sharks and to promote the conservation of sharks.

The American Elasmobranch Society
Florida Museum of Natural History website. The American Elasmobranch Society is a non-profit organization that seeks to advance the scientific study of living and fossil sharks, skates, rays, and chimaeras, and the promotion of education, conservation, and wise utilization of natural resources.


ICUN World Conservation Union
The World Conservation Union is the world’s largest and most important conservation network. The Union brings together 82 States, 111 government agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. The Union’s mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre
The United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the biodiversity assessment and policy implementation arm of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the world's foremost intergovernmental environmental organization.

US Fish & Wildlife Webpages on Endangered Species
The American endangered species list maintained by the US Fish & Wildlife Service

Word Conservation Union ICUN Red List of Endangered Species

IUCN - The World Conservation Union, through its Species Survival Commission (SSC) has for four decades been assessing the conservation status of species, subspecies, varieties and even selected subpopulations on a global scale in order to highlight species threatened with extinction, and therefore promote their conservation.


Conservation Science Institute's Alaska Shark Assessment Program website
In depth look at sharks of the North Pacific

Sharklife is a non-profit organization based in South Africa that has as its mission the prevention of shark species from declining to a point beyond recovery. Their focus is on altering public misconception through shark education, research and legislation.

Shark Foundation
The Shark Foundation has been committed to the protection and research of sharks since 1997 and sees itself as the sharks' lobby. Their purpose is to contribute to the protection and preservation of sharks.

Sharks of Maryland and Delaware
Webpage of the Graduate College of Marine Studies at the University of Delaware


Isle of Man: Basking Shark
British based Manx Wildlife Trust's Manx Basking Shark Watch web page

 Canadian Shark Research Laboratory
Site emphasis is on Canadian shark species.

SOUTH AFRICA  The Natal Sharks Board
The Natal Sharks Board (NSB) is a service organization that protects beach users in KwaZulu-Natal against shark attack.

THAILAND   The Sharks of Thailand
Excellent regional site. Addresses problem of finning in Thailand.

Shark Observation Eco-Tours

African Sharks Eco Charters
Diving with South African Great Whites

Diving With Sharks.com
An extensive scuba directory featuring shark diving links and resources on the world wide web.

ReefQuest Marine Projects
Expeditions in which participants actively assist on-going shark related projects

The Great White House
South African resort that offers whale watching and Great White shark cage diving tours.


Isle of Man: Basking Shark
British based Manx Wildlife Trust's Manx Basking Shark Watch web page

Australian Government Marine Species Conservation: Great White Shark

Superb resource site on Great Whites

Great White Sharks
Website by Gary Villa focusing on Great White Sharks in the section of the California Coast known as the Red Triangle

The Great White Shark
Website by Douglas Long focusing on Great Whites

Sand Tiger Sharks
Website by Rick Allen focusing on Sand Tiger Sharks off the coast of North Carolina


Capt Tom's Guide to New England Sharks
This site is primarily about the New England shark species. Some general material presented.

Fiona's Shark Mania
An artsy fun site by Fiona, who shares her passion for sharks!  Extremely  comprehensive link section on sharks.

Sharks of Hawaii
Lifeguard resource and educational site with excellent section of Hawaiian sharks


Sharkman's World
Personal website of Alex Buttigieg, a diver and shark conservationist from Malta.


American Museum of Natural History Statement  

The IUCN Red List of Endangered Species

Professor David  Ulansey's Website -Mass Extinction Underway